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quest for mobile, part 2 March 25, 2007

Posted by winden in in real life, japanese.
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So, after a week of chasing, I’ve got some news: Seems it’s 100% impossible to buy a japanese phone. Even going direct to the makers. Let me tell you: this really suxxx. Yesasia can’t of course provide them either… they had the fastest response time with about 2 hours between asking and replying. Most others took about 3 or 4 hours. Slowest ones were vodafone spain, which took around 5 days to reply. And of course they told me to contact vodafone japan to buy the phone from them. Contacting toshiba was really fun when I asked if I could buy the japanese dictionary as a separate thing for my euro/usa phone: “We are toshiba america, please contact toshiba europe if you live in europe”.

The best response prize goes to au kddi: “Come to live here for a while, get a worldwide roaming contract with us, and then go back to spain while mantaining our contract.”. Yeah, as if I’d come back to spain after living there for 3 months. And doing this would be pretty expensive: calling any spanish number would mean paying spanish roaming + cost of call from japan to spain. But anyways they were the only ones that provided any kind of response other than “we don’t care”.

So, if jphone is out, the next best thing is to buy a similar phone and use a java dictionary with a custom entry system, which I’ll write about later.

The quest for the new mobile starts today March 18, 2007

Posted by winden in in real life, japanese.
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So, having had the very same mobile phone for 7 years (!!!), I’ve lately decided to start searching for another one. And what else, I decided to browse a bit at JP sites and their phones really rules… for example this sanyo mobile boasts a lot of stuff such as a builtin JP+EN dictionary (which is apparently standard on all jp phones) and even a OCR system via the builtin camera. Even saw many with PAL+NTSC TVout to replay video directly to a TV.

Suddendly, getting one of these phones looked great since they would triple as mp3 player + dictionary + phone. mp3 + phone would really mean that I’d come back to always having a mobile with me, which I haven’t done for about 4 years!

So off I went and wrote an email on saturday evening asking info on buying this phone for using it back here in europe, and they answered back in less than 8 hours… great customer service!!! Too bad they don’t want to sell me the phone if I’m not getting a mobile contract in JP :( But sure would be funky to keep living here in ES but having a japanese mobile contract, the romaing fees could be really fun to see! XD

Looked also at the vodafone/softbank homepage and they had lots of phones with support for european GSM networks besides the requisite JP dictionary… crossed this into the ES vodafone page for buying phones and there are some intersecting models… too bad the spanish page keeps silent on whether the JP support, which probably was kicked out in support for pan-european EN+FR+DE+ES support… will have to contact them anyways.

As a last way, I could always ask saskia to get me one of these from a TW store when she comes back to visit her family, or gamble a bit with ordering directly from a TW or HK site.

Edited a while later: Of course ES vodafone says that the toshiba 803 is only available with PT + ES + EN language and can’t order the JP version via them. Apparently they all don’t realise that I want to give them money so that I get the phone… will have to try with JP vodafone next…

comefrom wedding March 17, 2007

Posted by winden in in real life, japanese.
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Last workweek was really like a rollercoaster, not helped at all by the fact that I was trying to pre-work at the start so that I could leave early on friday for wedding purposes. So here goes my wedding report!

  • Wedding was 17.00 at the town hall, a bit extrange being accustomed to church ones (do we have to keep quiet? is that enya music instead of bach and haendel?).
  • The time came at last for paying back for all the embarrasing moments at class when the teacher asked who I was going to date later that night and all that… So just after exiting the town hall, I threw a “sensei wa kampeki desu ne?” (teacher is perfect isn’t her?) together with one of the class girls to the bride, which earned me a blushing smirk :)
  • Triple gretting to the bride’s mother and aunt: japanese-style salute (complete with the proper hajimemashite and bowing) + american-style handshake (induced by them) + latin-style double-kissing (induced by me). But also managed to demonstrate my broken japanese: asked for the grandmother (obaasan) but was politely corrected instead to “aunt” (obasan).
  • Shared mid-afternoon coffee with the martial arts people. Learnt there is a book purpose-made to help westerners learn kanji reading and writing.
  • Managed not to get seafood-poisoned as in past celebrations even when we had two full plates on our table. Seems to me that this alergy is going down with the years. At last!!!
  • We had two tables of japanese students: one for the martial arts people and other for the random ones. So I was in the random table, sharing with kurina-chan, sergio-san, katy-chan and fatima-chan.
  • Just in case you didn’t know yet, the best times for looting girl phonenumbers are birthday and wedding parties. There was lots of drinking… and not only the usual cacique and negrita, but even vodka! And lots of early ’90s music. And there were some cool girls at the place. And some flamenco style music for close range interaction. Will leave the math to you all ;)
  • Oportunity-attack-style ice-breaking move: just after the bride passes goes by my side laughing and dancing, one of the japanese girls comes besides me, so I go for a very casual “kawaii desu ne?”.
    Asked me if I come from the groom side and then enter the usual “I’m stuying japanese with eriko…”, followed with the even more typical “why are you stuying japanese?”.
  • Speaking of japanese girls at the party… they were no doubt the ones with the best flamenco dancing, one of them had totally cool moves for only two years of study (even slow moving ones which are the most difficult to master, sort of trying to keep the rythm when listening to yolk/cncd music ;), and other one really knew how to eye-lock while dancing (which is of course very important for flamenco).
  • And before you have to ask, yes, I danced flamenco with the three of them. Never had classes, but both my built-in vargas-heritage and the low blood-to-vodka-ratio provided enough leeway.
  • Towards the end, what is nowdays a classic for wedding dances… all the guys towards the stage for europe’s final countdown. All with the neck ties bandana style. Just in case you didn’t know yet, long hair rules for dancing.

Photo swapping is still pending, will have to digg a bit to get them. Will upload some there I think.

lo que me acabo de encontrar en el diccionario!!! March 6, 2007

Posted by winden in demoscene, japanese.
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Resulta que en japones hay una palabra concreta (y propia en lugar de ser adaptada del americano) para el “código máquina”…

機械語 [きかいご: KIKAIGO] machine language, machine word, computer word

Kanji, aka “why japanese language doesn’t rely on synonyms when writting” October 24, 2006

Posted by winden in japanese.
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So when you are using a western language such as Spanish or English, you may sometimes find that the same word is used for different meanings… this is usually called as a good thing (aka “Spanish is such a rich language because most words have so many multiple meanings depending on context”)

Japanese language does rely on that for speaking, but not for writting so… even if the are spoken the same, different ideas have different symbols known as kanji (or somethimes groups of kanji). For example to say basement, you would pronounce “chika” (ちか) but would write 地下.

Going the reverse way, from pronunciation to writting (and thus meaning) gives for example the translation of “akira” (あきら) as “bright” (明), or “rise” (昂), or “wise” (慧) … which are more or less the options you get from the computer when trying to input the kanjis.

So in fact written Japanese is really much more precise than common western languages because the exact meaning you have in mind usually has it’s own kanji. The problem is, of course, that most people know only the “common kanjis”, just like in western languages that most people only use common words and only very knowledgeable people use (or even know) the more esoteric and specific ones.

Some parts of japanese are going to be rough October 22, 2006

Posted by winden in japanese.
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So, last week we learned colors at class… you know red, yellow, et all… so when we are reaching the end, we are also introduced to pink and orange, which are each spelled like PINKU (ピンク) and ORENJI (オレンジ). Me having studied french since I was 4 (now sadly very forgotten but for the pronunciation :( ). So, imagine being told that the proper way to refer to the orange color in nowdays japanese is to sort of say it in english, and then being unable to do it because of always pronouncing it the french way with the funny french-esque “r”.

Oh my, us polyglot people have it too hard sometimes ;)

“Spaced repetition” for learning japanese September 28, 2006

Posted by winden in in real life, japanese.
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So having been grounded at home since yesterday evening with high fevers… I had to cancel my japanese class today :( since anyways I can not really concentrate on anything. So, instead of my usual rehearsal for japanese, I’ve been wandering internet and stumbled upon this Spaced repetition term… now the sound of that page is somehow too good to be true, but maybe it works? I dunno, would have to spend a bit of time researching it before I commit to really using it for my japanese learning, although most probably it’s better than my random “i wanna rehearse that today” system ^_^

Learning to read japanese reminds me of learning to read math September 12, 2006

Posted by winden in coding, japanese.
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Meta-info 1: I was studying “math major” at university.

Meta-info 2: I have yet to find out if unicode has proper math symbols.

So I goto my first math class at univ. together with leunam (who had entered math univ. one year before), and we sit at some random place. Enter stage left a young but strict looking female teacher and after some pleasanteries…

teacher: This being math analysis (the one where you learn to do weird symbolic integrals, symbolic power series and lotsa greek letters in both cases), I will now write most of the math symbols we are going to need (she always used scientific-speak at class of course) opposite their translation

winden (whispering): leunam, this is when we get to learn “for-every” and such like symbols?

leunam: just wait and see

winden: yeah

teacher: *write* *write* *write* *write* *write* …

winden: holy crap i can’t keep up

leunam: told you so, to wait and see

teacher: *write* *write* *write* *write* *write* *write* …

chalkboard: *error no space left on device*

teacher: *goto chalkboard 2* *write* *write* *write* *write* *write* … *goto chalkboard 3* *write* *write* …

winden: I just can’t keep up on somewhat writting them down, much less writting them with proper form… we really have to learn all these symbols?!?!?!

leunam: hehe

teacher: Can I erase the first chalkboard? *waits 3 secs* *erase* *write* *write* *write* …

winden: Can’t believe how fast she’s writting while maintaing goodlooking symbols!!! (i have always been keen on font desings)

leunam: Don’t despair winden of network

[end of “ohhh i remeber when i as young and wawawa”-mode]

What does this story have in common with japanese? You see, japanese has different symbols for writing than latin-derived languages, so learning entails not only pronunciation and associating sounds with ideas, but also the combo of sound with ideas with symbols, just like when learning to write in math-speak “for-every n belonging-to naturals with n greater-than 0, exists some m belonging-to naturals with n being less-than m” (this definition of infinite-ness of the natural numbers is hereby provided free of charge ^^).

(fixed: found out how to cast the math-with-unicode spell: “∀n∈ℕ|n>0, ∃m∈ℕ|n<m”

hiragana numbers are inside September 11, 2006

Posted by winden in japanese.
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And just a while ago I managed to learn to write numbers w/ hiragana characters… yeah japanese category has just been added ;)

ps. anyone knows how to input “small characters”? I mean when you write 9 == KI-yu-U, you should write the “yu” part smaller and somewhat inside the “KI”, but no way to find out yet…

Holly crap I can decode a bit of japanese now ^^ September 10, 2006

Posted by winden in japanese.
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So I was watching some random youtube japanese commercial and upon the cute girl getting her score, I was able to decode あなたの on the fly (hiragana “anata no” ==> you + possesive particle).

(may end up getting a new japanese category at the blog mind you)